Lakhta Center

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Coordinates: 59°59′13.7″N 30°10′37.3″E / 59.987139°N 30.177028°E / 59.987139; 30.177028

Lakhta Center
Lakhta Center 07.jpg
Artist's impression of the tower
General information
Status Under construction
Town or city Saint Petersburg
Country Russia
Construction started 2012
Completed 2018 (planned)
Height 462.7 m (1,518 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 86
Design and construction
Architect Tony Kettle
Architecture firm RMJM

Lakhta Center (Russian: Ла́хта це́нтр) is a large mixed-use non-residential construction project in Saint Petersburg, Russia. When the project was still planned for its original site next to the historical center of St. Petersburg, it was first called Gazprom City (Russian: Газпро́м си́ти) and later Okhta Center (Russian: О́хта це́нтр). After public outcry over the project's expected effect on the architectural integrity of the city's historical center, and its numerous violations of city laws, the project site was moved to Lakhta.

External video
(Russian) «From Okhta to Lakhta». Animation film about the reasons why the Center was moved from Okhta to Lakhta,Flash Video

Lakhta Center is planned to include the first supertall skyscraper in the city, a scientific and educational complex, sports and leisure facilities, and an outdoor amphitheater.[1] The 463-metre[2] main tower of Lakhta Center, upon its planned completion in 2018,[3] is expected to be the tallest building in Russia and Europe.[4]

The design of the main tower of Lakhta Center project inherited the design of the main tower of the project Okhta Center, which was succeeded by the project Lakhta Center upon the decision of Gazprom and the city of Saint Petersburg to relocate the project of Gazprom's new headquarters in December 2010. The design development of Lakhta Centre is being undertaken by Russian architectural and engineering companies Gorpoekt and ViPS.

In 2008, Arabtec, the construction company involved in construction of the world’s tallest building in Dubai, won a contract to build this 60 billion ruble ($2.56 billion) complex.[5]

Lakhta Center: Key Characteristics[edit]

Lakhta Center will contain:

  • Offices
  • Hotel[6]

Hotel will be located in the south part of the complex right near the tower.[7] Along with 200 rooms it will include a number of conference halls which will be constructed and equiped in order to meet all the requirements of holding modern public events. Conference halls' interiors will be selected from projects of young architects participating in the "Archichance" contest.[8] 100 people will be employed by the hotel.

  • Sport center with indoor and outdoor skating rings
  • Children's scientific center and museum[9]

Center of Recreational Science with total area of more than 7000 square metres will be situated in the Lakhta Center's North and South buildings.[10] The concept of the Center of Recreational Science was worked out in colllaboration with specialists from the University of information technologies, mechanics and optics (Saint Peterburg).[11] In the South Building it is planned to place an exploratorium type exposition with interactive showpieces. Exposition will be divided to the zones organized according to the participants' age. In the North building there will be a scientific center. These two centers are to be connected by the bridge.[12]

  • Innovation area for exhibition of scientific achievements of technical universities[13]
  • Planetarium[14]

Planetarium is to be situated in the upper part of the building which directly sides the tower. Planetarium capacity is 140 people. Place will be equiped with up-to-date optic instruments and computers. It will allow to ogranize events both of entertaining and educational kind.[15]

  • Medical center with pediatric unit
  • Multifunctional auditorium

Multifunctional auditorium is designed to be appropriate for holding both business and enterntaining events. It will be possible to use the auditoruim as one big hall or to transform it in to two smaller ones. Design of the auditorium makes it possible to regulate the height of walls and seatings, remove or add seating places. [16][17]

  • Open amphitheater for viewing watershows
  • Observation deck

Free public observation desk will be located at the uppermost floor of the tower, at the 378m height. The deck will be constructed with 360 degree viewing angle and is to be equiped with modern telescopes. The deck is planned to be open for visitors in the daytime as well as at night [18]

  • Exhibition areas
  • Shop gallery
  • Cafes
  • Recreation area[19]

Features of Design[edit]

  • A box-type foundation consisting of two massive structures, each being one floor high, will be the base of the tower. The bottom of the foundation will be located at the depth of 20m.[20] The box-type foundation is mounted on 264 piles, 2m in diameter and 82m of length each.[21]
External video
(Russian)«"Lakhta Center". Zero cycle. Bottom plate of the foundation. The interview of "Lakhta Center" Construction Director Elena Morozova
External video
(Russian)«"Lakhta Center". Zero cycle. Diaphragm wall». Animation film about Lakhta Center's features of design
  • In the basis of the construction there is a reinforced concrete core in which all the vertical communications like pipes and cables are placed. Besides the structural strength of the skyscraper is provided by outrigger columns owing to which building stability will remain even if 30% of all the bearing structures is removed. Outrigger columns are placed within approximately each 70 metres throughout the entire height of the building.[22]
  • In order to provide high bearing capacity of the building there are 4 outrigger transitions contemplated in the project. These "high-altitude foundations" will let to distribute the weight of the tower and compensate the load from wind pressure. On each outrigger transition will lean 14 above floors.[23]
  • Two types of piles are used in the construction. In the center of the building where pressures are maximal 65m long piles will be mounted. Piles of 55 m long will be mounted along the perimeter of the building. It is so in order to compensate the forming of the "bowl-like" deformation due to which the yielding in the center of the construction is more than along the edges.
External video
(Russian) «Lakhta Center». Zero cycle. Piling. Animation film about piling process
  • Several randomly chosen piles were tested on durability in so called "O-cell" (or Ostenberg cell). This system of calibrated hydraulic jacks integrated within one module allows to simulate the load which each of the tested piles will have in reality.[24]
  • Piles integrity is checked up by ultrasonic test. Four ultrasonic sensors are placed along the whole length of the pile. The data received allows to understand whether there are any laminations inside the pile. Besides constructors constantly monitor the level of soil settlement under the piles base using the pressure sensors placed inside the special holes.[25]
  • One of the important parts of the building foundation will be the diaphragm wall. It will hold the walls of the foundation pit with a help of a thrust disk system. Bearing members of the tower foundation will go 82m under the ground.
  • According to the project there will be 34 elevators in the tower but only some of them will go to the topmost floor. Besides these elevators there will be special fire elevators constructed to be used in case of emergency.[26]
  • It is planned to construct buildings only at 30% of the whole area of the Center. The rest of the territory will be granted for the public needs[27]

"Green" and Energy-saving Technologies[edit]

While designing Lakhta Center several "green" and energy-saving technologies were planned for further application. They are

  • Double facade. Usage of double glazing will help to increase the level of thermal insulation which allows to lower costs for heating and conditioning.
  • Usage of the excess heat generated by working technical equipment for heating of premises.
  • Usage of economical infrared radiators.
  • Usage of contactless sensors or motion detectors for economizing electric energy and water.
  • Mounting of the systems supporting the optimal level of temperature and humidity inside the building.
  • Constructing of the ice storages which will accumulate up to 1000 ton of ice at night for air conditioning during the daytime. It will help to reduce the differences in the usage of electricity during night and day periods. It also allows to shorten expenditures on electric power on the account of the differences in tarifs for day and night usage of electricity.

All in all while constructing Lakhta Center approximately 100 innovations are to be used. It lets to increase the indexes of energy saving by 40% compared to the buildings where standard techlonogies are in use[28].

Planning and Construction[edit]

On November 15, 2005, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and Saint Petersburg governor Valentina Matviyenko announced the intention of Sibneft to build the Gazprom City Business center. The plans included a 300 metre-high skyscraper with its headquarters on the right bank of the Neva River 59°56′37.6″N 30°24′27.1″E / 59.943778°N 30.407528°E / 59.943778; 30.407528 (original site), across from the Smolny Cathedral, despite the fact that current regulations forbid construction of a building of more than 42 (48 with expert approval) metres high there. The plans were later revised to increase the height of the skyscraper to more than 400 metres.

On March 20, 2006, Gazprom and the city signed an agreement under which Sibneft agreed to pay 20 billion rubles of taxes to the city annually after moving there, which was supposed to occur in the near future, while St. Petersburg agreed to allocate 60 billion rubles during ten years for the project's construction.[29]

On December 1, 2006, Gazprom and the city authorities announced, live on television, that British architectural firm Robert Matthew Johnson Marshall Ltd., had been chosen to build the center by a committee consisting of four foreign architects, four representatives of the St. Petersburg City Administration, including Matviyenko herself, and representatives of Gazprom: Alexei Miller, Valery Golubev (Deputy CEO Gazprom, Head of the Department for Construction and Investment of Gazprom, former Head of the Vasileostrovsky Administrative District of St. Petersburg) and Alexander Ryazanov (President of Gazprom Neft, fired on November 17 during the competition). In fact, three of the four architects, namely Norman Foster, Rafael Viñoly and Kisho Kurokawa, retired from the jury before it convened, opposing all of the shortlisted designs because of their height.[30] The construction of the entire Gazprom City was supposed to be completed by 2016.

The proposed twisting tower is inspired by a Swedish fortress named Landskrona (not to be confused with the town of that name), which occupied the original Okhta site in early 14th century, and another fortress Nyenschantz on the site until 18th century in the form of a five-sided star to maximize views for defensive purposes.[31] The inspiration for the design also comes from energy in water, with the building form deriving its shape from the changing nature of water and ever changing light. It gives a new interpretation to the historical fortresses with modern aesthetics and technology - transparency and democracy, internal and external interactions. It also features a unique environmental strategy, which acts as a low energy double-layered skin of the tower allowing maximum daylight and minimum heat loss in the extreme climate of the city.[32]

In March 2007 the project was renamed from Gazprom City to Okhta Center (after the river of Okhta). It was also decided that Gazprom Neft would allocate 51% of funds for the construction project, while city budget would account for only 49%.[33]

In late 2008, St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko introduced an amendment into the city budget delaying investment in the Okhta Center for the first half of 2009. The reason was due to the current financial crisis.[34]

In December 2010, Governor Matviyenko announced that the project plan on the Okhta site was abandoned and will be built in the suburbs.[35] The new planned site is farther from the historic center of St. Petersburg, on the northern shore of the Neva Bay (Gulf of Finland). This site is on the Primorskoye Highway (Приморское Шоссе), in the Lakhta area of the Primorsky District, northwest of Vasilyevsky Island.[36]

Construction of the project at the Lakhta site is supposed to resolve the conflicts that previously existed with the city's laws concerning cultural preservation. Some aspects of the design, including the height of the skyscraper, may need to be adjusted in accordance with the engineering and geologic characteristics of the new site.[37]

Key Contractors[edit]

  • Arabtec(UAE)- underground cycle
  • Bauer Group (Germany)- piling
  • Gorproekt CJSC (Russia)- design documentation
  • Geostroy CJSC (Russia)- diaphragm wall installation
  • NIIOSP (Russia)- investigation of the bearing soil of the high-rise building foundations
  • Petrochim-technologiya LLC (Russia)- ecologic investigations
  • Arup Group Limited (Great Britain)- verification calculation for the underground part, foundation pile base and the superstructure
  • Trest GRII JSC (Russia) - geodesic investigations


Public Attitude[edit]

Alexei Miller claimed that he is "positive that St. Petersburg’s citizens will be proud of these new architectural masterpieces."[39] However, the Director of the Hermitage Museum, Mikhail Piotrovsky, along with numerous civil groups, has spoken out against the plan. Russia's culture ministry has also been reported to object to the tower's plan.[40] The Saint Petersburg Union of Architects also voiced opposition to it in July 2006, as did many other citizens.[41] In October 2009, about 3,000 people protested against the tower in St. Petersburg, arguing that it would spoil the city's historic skyline.[40]

As the historical centre of St. Petersburg is a World Heritage Site in 1991; in December 2006 UNESCO World Heritage centre Director Francesco Bandarin reminded Russia about its obligations to preserve it and expressed concern over the project.[42] In 2007, the World Monuments Fund placed the historic skyline of St. Petersburg on its 2008 Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites due to the potential construction of the building, and in 2009 reported that the tower "would damage the image of Russia."[43]

The project being moved to Lakhta didn't stop the discussions. On April 11, 2012, ex-governor of St. Petersburg and now Federation Council chairwoman Valentina Matvienko said to journalists that the "Lakhta center could become a new symbol of the city and attract the businessmen from all over the world to St. Petersburg."[44]

On May 16, 2012, St. Petersburg governor Georgiy Poltavchenko emphasised in his annual report for House of Assembly the necessity of building a new "city" in St. Petersburg. According to Mr Poltavchenko, there are three appropriate districts for that: Lakhta center, Pulkovo and aggradated territories near Waterfront.[45]


  1. ^ "Lakhta Center Website, Концепция проекта". Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  2. ^ "Federal Air Transport Agency Authorization". 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  3. ^ "Lakhta Center". The Skyscraper Center. Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, '100 Future tallest buildings in the world'". Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  5. ^ "Okhta Center Tender Closed | The St. Petersburg Times | The leading English-language newspaper in St. Petersburg". 2008-04-29. Retrieved 2012-08-04. 
  6. ^ (Russian)К бизнесу подселяют отели
  7. ^ "Лахта-центр". Объекты комплекса
  8. ^ Лахта-Ольгино. Петербургские студенты создадут интерьеры для "Лахта-центра"
  9. ^ (Russian)В «Лахта-центре» создадут научный музей, не уступающий нидерландскому NEMO
  10. ^ Лахта-центр. Развивающий центр для детей
  11. ^ Наследники "Дома занимательной науки" подарили Смольному концепцию Центра-эксплуаториума
  12. ^ Лахта Ольгино. Новости о Лахта-центре. Интервью профессора Стафеева С.К.
  13. ^ (Russian)Совет ректоров предложил «Лахта-центру» дополнить детский центр инновационной площадкой для вузов
  14. ^ (Russian)Планетарий в виде шара появится в петербургском «Лахта центре»
  15. ^ Lakhta Center.Planetarium
  16. ^ Лахта-центр. Объекты комплекса.
  17. ^ В «Лахта-центре» будет гостиница, планетарий, концертный зал и медцентр
  18. ^ Lakhta Center.Observation deck
  19. ^ (Russian)«Лахта-центр» выиграет по функционалу
  20. ^ “Underground Cycle” Works
  21. ^ Новости о Лахта центре на сайте МО «Лахта-Ольгино»
  22. ^ (Russian)Skyscrapers are changing public conscience|Небоскрёбы меняют сознание социума
  23. ^ Александр Бобков: «Лахта-центр» вынырнет из земли через 22 месяца
  24. ^ Небоскреб на «коробке»
  25. ^ Фундамент «Лахта центра» — сверхпрочное основание небоскреба
  26. ^ Небоскрёбы меняют сознание социума
  27. ^ Елена Морозова, директор по строительству проекта «Лахта центр», о строительстве самого высокого в Европе делового центра: «Небоскреб не элитная и замкнутая „вещь в себе“, а открытый для всех комплекс»
  28. ^ Lakhta Center. Power efficiency
  29. ^ "Ъ-Газета - Парус им в руки". Retrieved 2012-08-04. 
  30. ^ Gazprom jury walk-out by Ellen Bennett, Building Design, the Architects' Website, December 8, 2006
  31. ^ Birch, Amanda (2008-08-08). "RMJM’s Russian odyssey | Technical | Building Design". Retrieved 2012-08-04. 
  32. ^ "Okhta Centre, Russia". RMJM. Retrieved 2012-08-04. 
  33. ^ ""Газпром-Сити" переименовали". Retrieved 2012-08-04. 
  34. ^ "Crisis Puts Gazprom Skyscraper In Doubt | News | The Moscow Times". 2008-11-05. Retrieved 2012-08-04. 
  35. ^ 17:43 4/08/2012+29°C (2010-07-22). "Gazprom tower to be moved from central St. Petersburg | RUSSIA". The Moscow News. Retrieved 2012-08-04. 
  36. ^ "The Site at Primorskoye Highway". Retrieved 2012-08-04. 
  37. ^ Shiryaevskaya, Anna (August 5, 2011). "Gazprom Neft Awarded Approval to Build St. Petersburg Skyscraper". Bloomberg. 
  38. ^ "Key contractors". Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  39. ^ Experts Slam Giant Gazprom Tower Plan by Evgenia Ivanova, The St. Petersburg Times #1188 (54), July 21, 2006.
  40. ^ a b "Protest over St. Petersburg tower". BBC News. 2009-10-10. Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  41. ^ Hermitage director joins outcry over city-centre skyscraper plan by Tom Parfitt, The Guardian, November 10, 2006.
  42. ^ UNESCO is worried by Elena Ragozina, Vedomosti #229 (1756), December 5, 2006 (in Russian).
  43. ^ "Russian tower plans cause alarm". BBC News. 2009-09-23. Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  44. ^ ""In the light circle", the interview with Ms.Matvienko at "Echo Moskvy"". Retrieved 2012-10-28. 
  45. ^ "Poltavchenko: Petersburg needs a new business center and town-planning dictation". 2012-05-15. Retrieved 2012-10-28. 

External links[edit]